Earth going to pot – Marijuana grown in California produces more carbon than 3 million cars

Thanks to “Climate Desk” for pointing out this gem of an article.

pot-killing-planet

These factoids are from the earth-friendly “Mother Jones” magazine “24 Mind-Blowing Facts About Marijuana Production in America”, referencing several federal data sources.

A few of those points:

  • 80 percent of all marijuana grown in the USA comes from California, Tennessee Kentucky, Hawaii, and Washington. The vast majority comes from California.
  • In 2013, California authorities seized 329 outdoor pot grow sites with: 1.2 million plants, 119,000lbs of trash, 17,000lbs of fertilizer, 40gal. of pesticides, 244 propane tanks, 61 car batteries, 89 illegal dams, and 81 miles of irrigation pipe.
  • During California’s growing season, outdoor grows consumed roughly 60 million gallons of water a day – 50% more than is used by all residents of San Francisco.
  • In California, indoor pot growing accounts for about 9% of household electricity use.
  • For every pound of pot grown indoors, 4600lbs of carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere. California’s production equates to emissions of 3 million cars.
  • The energy needed to produce a single joint is enough to produce 18 pints of beer, and creates emissions comparable to burning a 100 watt light bulb for 25 hours.

Source: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/marijuana-pot-weed-statistics-climate-change

References: Jon Gettman (2006), US Forest Service (California outdoor grow stats include small portions of Oregon and Nevada), Office of National Drug Control Policy, SF Public Utilities Commission, Evan Mills (2012).

I’m sure eco-activists will jump right on this trash-making climate-killing water-sucking pot problem we have here in California and include it right up there with the urgency of the proposed statewide plastic bag ban and banning fracking by chartering buses:

Mitchell explained that as San Diegans living at the end of the water pipeline, it is even more critical that we participate in this rally to convince Governor Brown that water is a precious natural resource more necessary than fracked oil and gas. “This awful drought effects us all and we need to stop wasting that water on fracking,” she said.

Yeah, but dude, pot is a life necessity.

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Gary

Dave? Dave? Dave’s not here.

Yeah, but dude, pot growing is to a large extent an illegal alien enterprise – therefore it gets a pass.

H.R.

Ohhhhh…. that explains the water shortages in California….
.
.
.
.
“POT. It’s not just for breakfast any more.”

Adam Gallon

I’m always slightly amused by all those “Celebraties” who lend their voices in support of green causes, when most of them stuff their noses & veins full of such ethically produced products as cocaine & heroin.

hunter

Anthony, the headlilne does not read smoothly. should it be …..”grown”……
The point is rather devestating to the position of the greens: they would deny us things that we can eat in order to save water, and make our power grid unstable and over priced all to ‘save the planet’, yet seem to accept without hesitation the water and CO2 footprint of a favored herb.

JimS

Why would an eco-activist try and elimate their personal source of “a poor man’s Nirvana?”

I have a hard time believing that indoor growing uses 9% of household electricity in the state. There are 38 million residents in this state.

Oscar Bajner

Pot, meet Kettle.

Doug S

goldminor says:
March 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm
I have a hard time believing that indoor growing uses 9% of household electricity in the state. There are 38 million residents in this state.

Difficult to measure since most of these residential operations “jump” the meter. Perhaps they simply took total power on grid minus the power measured by the meters and assumed all the missing power went to pot growing. Must be a new computer model at work.

P Walker

goldminor @12:25
Growing indoors requires a lot of electricity . Given the amount of pot that is grown in CA , 9% sounds reasonable .

kenw

Don’t forget the ancillary damage: gasoline-burning midnight runs to the 7-11 for munchies, the proliferation of plastic baggies, dastardly paper production,….

Resourceguy

Who says plants can’t think. They found a way to cultivate humans in order to benefit and expand themselves via chemical manipulation, even indoors in protected environments at great expense.

Rabelad

The article’s claim that one pound of pot burned produces 4,600 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere is patently, wildly and laughably absurd. That can’t possibly be true. That would mean that matter would be created by burning pot. It would be created to the tune of 2.3 TONS of CO2 for every pound of marijuana! That’s way too wild of an exaggeration to even be remotely plausible. Was someone writing this while smoking a joint, and in his mary-jane high just added 3 or 4 more zeros because he couldn’t tell the difference between his right hand from his left?
REPLY: Not burned, the PRODUCTION of. a far different thing. This takes water transport, fertilizers, electricity etc into account. – Anthony

Michael

If you drive up and around Northern California and wounder why people are driving brand new 4X4 trucks with all the bells and whistles ($$$$$) and have ‘Earth First’ or ‘GreenPeace’ and ‘Love Animals don’t eat them’ bumper stickers it’s not because they are growing grapes. I will give you 100 guesses BUT the first 99 don’t count.

noaaprogrammer

Candy’s dandy,
Liquor’s quicker,
Pot is not.
–Ogden Nash

Gerry

About that title …

Tom in Florida

“For every pound of pot grown indoors, 4600lbs of carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere. California’s production equates to emissions of 3 million cars.”
Can anyone tell me how much CO2 is in a pound and what is the volume of 4600 lbs of CO2. Let us assume it is at a temperature of 80 F but maybe someone else would know what would be the optimum temperature to grow the stuff.

Resourceguy

California energy policy is coming full circle. They have to work extra hard to pay for the sky high grid prices and overpriced rooftop solar systems and then they have to de-stress with energy-intensive pot in their limited free time. At least they have a low carbon future ahead of them from premature death. Oh wait, they energy-intensive cremations too.

Michael D

I hope this causes some cognitive dissonance in certain quarters.

RichardLH

Oh THAT sort of green energy 🙂

Mojo

Is this so much greater than, oh, I dunno, EVERY OTHER GREEN PLANT ON EARTH? Is it even remotely comparable to the megatons of CO2 pumped out by volcanic activity every year. Do you really think I’m that stupid?
Sheesh.

Raining now, but I think that when it is dry again a few Carbon footprint camp fires are in order.
Church hypocrites can’t shine against California fruits and nuts.

R. de Haan

We live on a carbon planet, who cares.

James Strom

Is it possible that a lot of these costs relate to the production of illegal pot? For example, you may choose to grow it in your basement, but then you’ll have to provide UV light. You also have to use piped-in water. After legalization the need for these measures would be reduced. Of course, you may still need semi-automatic weapons and electrified fences, but, hey, one step at a time.

You cannot smoke tobacco anywhere in the vicinity of another living thing, yet you can destroy the planet with the evil weed and be made a hero for it.
Only in California. (and Colorado and Washington).

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

Is that title further bastardisation of the English language? And Gary, our American cousins won’t ‘get’ that.

Bill Wagstick

Sir Paul Nurse smokes pot.

LadyLifeGrows

Marijuana is a green plant and like all other green plants, it is a net carbon sink in itself.
If the wild claims in this article are true–or even 1% true–then this nonproblem comes from the electricity for all those indoor grows–which are needed only because pot is illegal. Legalize possession and growing of pot, and the grow operations can move out doors.

GaelanClark

Not all of us who like and grow medicinal marijuana think that AGW, CAGW, Climate Change, or whatever the nom de geure may be, is either dangerous or real. I love that you have no concern as to whether or not the silly stats bandied about in the article are true or not…you really believe the cops now?….you have grown incurious because you may not like MMJ? Whatever.
Why don’t you look up Dr. Donald Tashkin and his studies on MMJ? You seem to want to denigrate at any chance you have those of us who actually think, and know, that MMJ is medicine.
I love this site, I visit it daily for news and updates on all things climate. I find the fact that you relish upon every and any glint of a story about MMJ, or any marijuana, as being bad and that you dote on these stories without any critical examination quite ignorant to the reality that exists in the efficacy of MMJ. Shame on you.
Indeed, just as der mejia gloat over the fact that the wrong way driver in Tampa who killed 4 people last month had marijuana in his system, they barely found time in the story line that he was three times the limit drunk. Go ahead and drink your 18 pints, I’ll take the joint.

@GaelanClark

Not all of us who like and grow medicinal marijuana

Again, the issue not MMJ! It is MJ, period. Stop trying to move the goal posts.

Go ahead and drink your 18 pints, I’ll take the joint.

You contradict yourself. The purpose of 18 pints (or 1 or 2) is not medical, but enjoyment. Why are you now claiming you are toking for enjoyment when you started your tirade about Medical?
There goes that short term memory.

Khwarizmi

Cannabis–a life enriching therapeutic plant that was once the fabric of our lives (hence the word CANVAS)–was outlawed worldwide for the benefit of Du Pont..
Same story as CFCs.
The Australian government website states that our laws were imposed on us by the U.S.government.

AEGeneral

99% of pot users who read this article will not recall ever reading this article.

@AEGeneral – Correction: 97%. 😉

SIGINT EX

LOL
Governor Moon Beam Brown and President Low Beam Obama are seriously behind the 8-Ball.
😀

ttfn

this whole CO2 bad thing is really more of a guideline than a rule.

Aphan

Well I learned something new today!
Technically the title to the article is correct. According to pot sites, the actual plots where MJ is planted are called “grows”. So it’s grammatically correct to call an area where it’s grown, a “Marijuana grow”.
http://www.thevillagenews.com/story/47256/
“How do young people in the Fallbrook area get their hands on marijuana? ”
“It seems that much of the marijuana in Fallbrook comes from home-cultivated outdoor marijuana gardens called “grows” and these sites are increasing.”

gaelansclark

By the by, your first bullet point is BULLSHYT….mother jones includes 4 other states with that 80% number.
And yet it is us “potheads” who can’t read, remember, or do anything productive. Great one duuuuuuuuuuuude.

Box of Rocks

The energy needed to produce a single joint is enough to produce 18 pints of beer, and creates emissions comparable to burning a 100 watt light bulb for 25 hours.
****
I dunno, I burn alot of propane to make a 10 gallon batch of beer and transporting all the stuff to my door takes alot of fuel and that if after the hops and barley are harvested…

SasjaL

Ouch! A serious blow hitting the AWG and pseudo green community …

timothy sorenson

@Adam Did you mean such (un)ethically produced?

DirkH

gaelansclark says:
March 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm
“By the by, your first bullet point is BULLSHYT….mother jones includes 4 other states with that 80% number.
And yet it is us “potheads” who can’t read, remember, or do anything productive. Great one duuuuuuuuuuuude.”
Nobody ever said that your short term memory is destroyed by pot. You should still be able to do arithmetic.

Khwarizmi

AEGeneral says:
March 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm
99% of pot users who read this article will not recall ever reading this article.
= = = = == =
That’s just propaganda.
IN FACT, cannabis stimulates neurogenesis:
http://www.jci.org/articles/view/25509
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services knows it: they own a patent on cannabinoids for protecting the brain from age-related damage – patent #6630507.
Look it up.
“But anyway, drink beer, drink beer drink beer. Why?
Because it makes you slow, stupid and docile – and that”s the way we like you”
– Bill Hicks

DirkH

GaelanClark says:
March 17, 2014 at 1:21 pm
“Indeed, just as der mejia gloat over the fact that the wrong way driver in Tampa who killed 4 people last month had marijuana in his system, they barely found time in the story line that he was three times the limit drunk. Go ahead and drink your 18 pints, I’ll take the joint.”
Don’t believe us; go read Junkie by Sam Burroughs; he’s the expert and he’ll tell you the same thing that I can tell you, namely that MJ , especially unexpected flashbacks a day later, switch off your 3D perception while driving from one moment to the next, and good luck if you’re in dense traffic. Happened to me, 30 years ago; and convinced me that a driving license and MJ are not friends so I stuck with the driving license.
MJ users are time bombs when behind the steering wheel.

DirkH

Khwarizmi says:
March 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm
“AEGeneral says:
March 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm
99% of pot users who read this article will not recall ever reading this article.
= = = = == =
That’s just propaganda.
IN FACT, cannabis stimulates neurogenesis:”
…and blocks transfer of short term memory to long term memory…
…Nobody ever smoked himself to a Nobel price…

D.J. Hawkins

goldminor says:
March 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm
I have a hard time believing that indoor growing uses 9% of household electricity in the state. There are 38 million residents in this state.

I spend considerable time on an electrical contractor’s forum. With legalization comes regulation, and now folks are calling professionals to get things done right. Some literature suggests that indoor grow operations call for 250 watts/sqft. This includes light, pumps, humidifiers, and then A/C to remove all the heat. If you were designing a home, the required electrical service would be based on 3 watts/sqft. So your 10′ x 10′ closet will be pushing 25,000 watts of power, 24/7. That comes to 18,000 kWh in a 30-day month. My three bedroom one bath home with 1,168 gross sq ft uses about 1,000 kWhr per month. So pot production uses eighteen times the energy in one tenth the square footage.

gaelansclark

Another bullshYt stat from mother jones…..4 plants takes up as much energy as 29 refrigerators….FAIL
4 plants = 600w light 12 hours per day = 7.2kwh per day x 63 days = 453.6kwh (at $0.12per kwh = $54.43 TOTAL OVER THE LIFE OF THOSE 4 PLANTS….and you could easily get 8 more plants under that light)
29 refrigerators being used at their average rate for 63 days use 8,108kwh
1 fridge = 1620kwh per year / 365 = 4.438 x 63 = 279kwh x 29 = (at $0.12per kwh = $972.96 TOTAL OVER THE LIFE OF THOSE 4 PLANTS) WOW WOW WOW
(Source for those numbers = https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/For-My-Home/ways-to-save-and-rebates/Appliances/Refrigerators/General-Info/Electric-Usage-Chart –Refrigerator – 22 CF, side-by-side, 20 years old)
Hey, breathless in Chico, get your facts straight!

James Ard

I couldn’t care less how much co2 is emitted by growing a pound of pot. But I do like the moral dilemma the average Mother Jones reader is facing today.

Khwarizmi

DirkH
It was William Borroughs, that wife-killing junkie.
I’ve read the book. It’s colorful, and not a 100% true, mostly fiction, and it doesn’t even attribute to cannabis what you say it does. His main compalin is “I got the fears” – i.e., temporary paranoia.
That fear might have stopped him shooting his wife.
And we wasn’t a scientist.
Perhaps you can find a study supporting your claim instead.

Khwarizmi

sorry – “main complaint.”

gaelansclark

DirkH….are you high right now? Because I am laughing out loud at your ridiculousness.
The “novel”–(a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism)–by William Seward Burroughs II does not count in my reading for information related to the efficacy or the deleterious effects of MMJ.
[trimmed. mod]

@gaelansclark – there goes that short term memory. You tried moving the goal posts. The subject was NOT medical MJ, it was MJ. Period.

Paul in Sweden

The new EPA Pot Growing Regulations are going to go over really well with the Eco-Nuts. Can’t wait to see all of the Global Warming Protests outside of the Pot Shops and Pot Farms.

gaelansclark

DJHawkins—plants don’t flower under 24 hours of light and plants will soon die under 24 hours of light.
The max wattage lights are on for only 12 hours per day–flowering.
The mother and clone lights are on for 18 hours per day, but they are a fraction of the total. One uses low wattage shop light type lights(full spectrum) for this cycle.
Your numbers are way off, period.